Sleep regression is a period in the life of an infant when his sleep pattern is lost. The baby begins to stay awake at night and act up.
A child who has just been born cannot have any regime yet. Babies up to 1 month of life sleep according to their internal rhythms, which are not understandable to an adult. These rhythms depend on the state of health of the baby and the activity of the development of his brain. It is too early to talk about sleep regression at this age.
In the first month of life, parents try to establish a sleep and wakefulness regimen, preventing the baby from overworking. It is necessary to make every effort to stabilize the child’s sleep so that later it will be easier to control this process.
Symptoms of Sleep Regression
Sleep disturbances can be expressed in various symptoms. The baby does not yet have a stable regimen of 1 month, and the symptoms sometimes go unnoticed. Children during this period only tune in to their lives and regulate internal processes.
1. Frequent awakenings at night
Babies should wake up no more than every 4 hours during the first month of life. It has to do with nutritional needs. If awakenings occur every half an hour or an hour, then this indicates obvious sleep disturbances.
2. Whims after eating
Babies aged 1 month should sleep immediately after eating. Sleep disturbances occur if the baby screams, tosses, and turns, does not calm down. You need to find out the cause of the failure.
3. Sleeps on chest
The baby can make sucking movements while sleeping while breastfeeding. Mothers often perceive this as wakefulness and do not put the baby to sleep in the crib. This means that the rhythms of the child have shifted slightly and it should be fed a little less and put to bed earlier.
4. Constantly hangs on mom
When a child cannot live without a breast, he demands his mother all the time and does not calm down. The symptom may be a sign of a neurotic sleep disturbance, regime failure, or lack of milk.
5. Does not fill up the established norms of sleep in 1 month
Normally, newborns should sleep 16-18 hours a day. With sleep disorders, this indicator can either increase significantly or decrease.
Symptoms of sleep disturbance in a child at the age of 1 month often have a negative connotation. You shouldn’t be worried about this. The baby is just beginning to get used to the outside world at this age. The development of the baby is very intense and spasmodic. Sleep directly depends on this.
You must understand that negative symptoms are an indicator of the normal development of the baby at this age.
Does Every Child Have Regression?
Changes in sleep patterns can occur in every child to varying degrees. This is manifested at the age of 4 months to 2 years. There are children in whom the process of regression proceeds quite smoothly. This is more likely to be associated with an established sleep pattern or with the natural characteristics of the child.
All children are different and they react differently to external and internal changes. Temperamental and sensitive babies can scream for days on end, haunting their mother. Some children sleep for 3-4 hours and wake up only for a snack and a little wakefulness.
Everyone is very individual in regards to regression. It is worth noting that this process is the norm. Regression is just a reaction of the child’s body to a leap in development, which is expressed in regime failures.
Night and Nap Changes During 1 Month Sleep Regression
Newborns up to 1 month old should sleep from 16 to 18 hours a day. Daytime sleep takes about 6-9 hours and nighttime – 8-10 hours. Sleep norms often do not coincide with those established for a variety of external reasons and insufficient maturity of the body.
The child has not yet formed biological rhythms until about 3-4 months of age. He cannot distinguish day from night and sleeps during the day for a long time. Babies up to 4 months old do not yet produce melatonin (sleep hormone).
Daytime sleep in a 1-month-old baby may be characterized by anxiety, constant screaming, and short episodes. The baby sometimes sleeps only 20-30 minutes during the day. This dream is characterized by constant awakenings and crying. Such a regression is observed due to the early restructuring of the child’s body to new conditions.
Night sleep in regressive symptoms is extremely interrupted. Instead of the prescribed 3-4 hours of consistent sleep the child can sleep for only half an hour. Often there are periods of long wakefulness at night.
Development Changes That Cause Sleep Regression at 1 Month
The manifestation of sleep regression in infants at the age of 1 month is not obvious. This is due to the lack of sleep as such. The baby only has to adjust to his new environment in the first month. The child must somehow find his rhythm between sleep and wakefulness.
The development of a child in the first month of life is characterized by various manifestations of stress due to a sharp change in the environment. The life of a baby is characterized by the development of reflex abilities.
1. The activity of motor impulses
During the active sleep of a child at 1 month, one can observe shudders, grimacing, a reflex smile. Sometimes it is not at all clear whether the baby is sleeping or not yet. These features of the development of the baby are associated with a high activity of motor impulses. The maturation of the mechanism of inhibition of these processes occurs a little later.
The baby can involuntarily wake himself up due to such features in development. It is difficult for a mother to establish a sleep schedule in these situations and it is worth considering the option of using diapers or a cocoon.
2. A small volume of the stomach
Sleep disorders in an infant at the age of 1 month are also a direct consequence of the characteristics of the body. This is an adaptation of the digestive tract to new food in the first place. In particular, the small volume of the stomach.
A baby in the first month very often needs nutrition due to this developmental feature. Frequent awakenings at night can be evidence of malnutrition. This is quite normal and can easily be handled by mom.
3. Easy fatigue
A large number of new things are thrown onto the baby. He has a hard time in the new environment. The cardinal restructuring of all body systems and reactive adaptation is very tiring. The baby will cry a lot if the mother has poor control over the rhythms of sleep and wakefulness.
It is a long and frequent crying that is a sign of severe fatigue of a baby at the age of 1 month. There is a clear violation of the mode of laying to sleep with overwork. Strong failures in established rhythms as a result.
4. Lack of a clear sleep pattern
A baby in the first month of life is not yet capable of a clear sleep pattern. This is a natural development process. The child can sleep up to 5 times or more during the day. The duration of sleep can be from 40 minutes to 2.5 hours.
It is the mother who adjusts to the pace of the child and not vice versa. The immaturity of the nervous system and the absence of the sleep hormone cause frequent disturbances in the regimen.
The musculature of the baby at 1 month arrives in physiological hypertonicity due to the natural features of development. The child’s fingers are bent into fists, legs at the knees. This condition can be both the norm and a sign of a painful reaction of the body.
Parents need to be able to recognize and distinguish hypertonicity from pain. This condition of the muscles often does not allow the baby to relax. Which directly affects his sleep.
How Long Does Sleep Regression Last
A pronounced first regression can be observed from 4 months of age. This is the most difficult period for parents who are used to the fact that their baby is sleeping a lot and soundly.
Sleep regression can last from 2 to 4 weeks. It begins with a sharp jump in development and can continue until the baby is fully adapted to new conditions.
Always stick to a sleep-wake schedule and try to get the baby back into that schedule. You can create a more acceptable regime by controlling the child’s fatigue. Train the baby by physically loading. This will help in regulating sleep. Massage, laying on the tummy, light exercises are recommended.
How to Deal with 1 Month Sleep Regression
It is necessary to learn to distinguish the causes of the manifestation of such deviations to be able to cope with the child’s sleep disorders. Parents very often confuse regression with an illness that also affects sleep. You should first take the temperature if the baby is anxious and you do not understand the reason.
It is always worth remembering that regression is a temporary phenomenon. This is a stage when the child does not immediately cope with the pace of his growth and development.
1. Control sleep patterns
Even though at the age of 1 month the child is not yet able to follow a clear regimen, it is worth monitoring it. Try to do everything according to a clear plan. Put your baby to bed at the same time, feed on demand, but at intervals. Try to tell the difference between day and night. All this will help in smoothing the regression and improving the ratio of sleep and wakefulness.
2. Avoid fatigue
The first month of a child’s life is one of the most stressful periods. The baby has just left the womb where he was warm and comfortable. He needs to quickly rebuild and get used to the new conditions. Fatigue often leads to sleep disturbances.
Keep an eye on your baby in the first month. Children of this age should sleep almost all the time. Forget about being awake and do not load the baby with physical exercises.
3. Feed well
A newborn needs a mother very much for the first month of his life. Feeding occurs on-demand and the baby requires breasts very often. If you observe that a child in the first month of life is restless, cries often, and sleeps poorly, you can consider malnutrition as the cause.
Complete nutrition of the baby should be both day and night. A baby will sleep very poorly at night if he does not get the right amount of milk during the day. So make sure you have enough milk. It is better to introduce supplementary feeding with a mixture if there is a deficiency.
A simple method of darkening a room can be used to help a child with sleep problems. Always close the curtains in the baby’s bedroom. This will help him fall asleep and wake up frequently.
It is especially important to use this technique for going to bed at night. Provide access to daylight in the morning. The baby will gradually develop signal reactions to the change in the cycle of day and night. This greatly reduces sleep disruptions.
The baby needs warmth more than ever in the first month of life. Thermoregulation systems have not yet been developed. A baby can easily become overheated or cold.
That is why in the first weeks of a newborn’s life, special attention should be paid to the temperature in the room, clothing, and heat transfer control.
Watch the temperature conditions in which your child is. This will significantly reduce problems with sleep and regimen.
6. Light exercise
Sleep regression can go much smoother with help from the child. Children mostly sleep soundly and for a long time, but there are exceptions to the rule. Exercise can be used to help your child cope a little with regressive sleep patterns.
Exercise should not be heavy in the first month of life. This age already allows you to lay the baby on the tummy, helping him to hold his head. You can use stroking as a massage relaxation.
7. Calm mom
Mom and baby were one whole for 9 months. Do not think that these are two different people at once after the birth of a baby. For a long time, the child does not associate himself at all as a separate individual.
The state of the child directly depends on the emotional state of the mother. Parents should be stable and devote a lot of time to the baby. Love and affection can work magic. Smile more often at your child, touch him, pick him up. Let him feel your warmth and care.
FAQ about 1 Month Sleep Regression
Parents of a newborn child always have a lot of questions for neonatologists and pediatricians. Especially if it’s their first child. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular questions and answers about what is 1 month sleep regression:
Q1: Does sleep regression necessarily occur in the first month after birth?
A1: No. The first month of life does not imply a clear regression of sleep. There are some violations, but they are not always a regression. It is appropriate to consider other causes of failure in the ratio of sleep and wakefulness.
Q2: What are the main symptoms of sleep regression at 1 month?
A2: The main symptoms of sleep regression at 1 month:
- The child is often restless for no apparent reason;
- Too interrupted sleep at night;
- Does not get the daily norm of sleep;
- Almost no sleep during the day and sleep at night or vice versa;
- Change in appetite.
Q3: If a baby does not sleep well in the first month, does this mean that he has a sleep regression?
A3: Normally, newborns up to 1-4 months should sleep peacefully. There are deviations from the established norms. It is always necessary to exclude diseases, developmental disorders, pathologies, malnutrition, and other causes. Only after that to conclude the regression.
Q4: Does sleep regression affect the health of the baby?
A4: No. This process is the norm. Regression is just a reaction of the child’s body to a new stage in development and growth. Do not consider it a disease and expect serious consequences. The regression will pass with time.
Q5: How to improve a child’s sleep in the first month of life?
A5: It is necessary first of all to provide all the conditions for a good sleep. This is a cozy bed with a hard mattress, comfortable clothes, selected according to the temperature regime, timely meals, etc. Massages, adherence to the regimen, avoidance of fatigue, and hygiene of the baby also help.
Q6: If there is no sleep regression at all, does this mean that something is wrong with development?
A6: No. All children are different both in development and growth and in temperament. It is not necessary to observe the bright symptoms of the manifestation of sleep regression. You may not even notice them. This process goes quite smoothly for some children.
Q7: How long can a sleep regression last?
A7: All individually but generally accepted norms are from 2 to 4 weeks. Each child goes through this process differently.